Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who's viewing your dashboards?

Do you know all of the people that are viewing your company's dashboards? There are several problems that can occur if a dashboard is not designed to meet the needs of the people that will be using it. Maybe the CEO will be looking at a dashboard to monitor several functional areas at a glance. If this dashboard was designed by an IT professional, it might assume a level of familiarity with the software that the CEO does not possess. The fanciest dashboard in the world means nothing if the end user doesn't know how to interact with it.

Another issue with dashboard design is the use of certain colors. The standard use of red, yellow, and green to symbolize bad, fair, and good has its flaws. If there are any colorblind people viewing these colors on a dashboard, it is likely that they will not be able to distinguish green from red. The use of varying intensities of gray, instead of the traffic light colors, will allow for easier interpretation by all users.

These are just a couple of situations where general assumptions of the end user could end up causing issues down the road. It is important to know who will be using the dashboards so they can be tailored to meet the needs of that specific person.

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